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in memoriam

Fred James Carraturo

"A man of sports"

in memoriam

in memoriam  in memoriam

Submitted by Jed Levine, August 2004:

Remarking on the midsummer election feuds over Swift Boats and National Guard service, a popular columnist noted that the debate over the Vietnam War won’t be over until the last two Boomers are dead and buried.

We wouldn't challenge that point … it’s probably true … but the purpose of this page is not to venture into that swamp yet one more time, but to honor the memory of the classmate we lost on 22 May 1967 (ironically, the same day Fred Rogers brought his neighborhood to PBS), SP4 Fred Carraturo. While the little trolley made its rounds and Sgt Pepper hit the airwaves, multiple fragmentation wounds spilled our classmate’s life all over the ground in an obscure place called Binh Duong in South Vietnam.

If we lost our generational innocence on 22 November 1963, Vietnam reshaped the fragments, irrespective of the individual paths we chose. New directions were set … by circumstance and response for some, by choice for others. Sure, there were the obvious ones we’ve heard about ad nauseam: enlist, join the Guard, go to Canada, be drafted, go to jail, etc. But there were others, too. Consider those too-early marriages: some would work out but many wouldn’t. Women too young to vote flew off to places like Honolulu and Bangkok for a week of “R&R” with a man they hoped would be alive when they got there … and whom they often found wasn’t the same person they remembered. Plans were made and completed. Other plans were made and crashed. Grad school for some, VA Hospital for others. For a few, there was even the option of sitting the whole thing out as a spectator, while yet others took their convictions to the street. Then there were the value judgments and invective from strangers, two decades of denial, and finally the bloody shirt waving of this past summer’s conventions.

Fred, what would you make of the last 36 years? Not for us to know. You rest, forever 20, in a quiet row in Holy Sepulchre, diagonally across from PFC Walter Hammerschlag USMC, from Blessed Sacrament, as if there were a Line of Scrimmage from high school football days between you.

What we do know, no matter where we stood all those years ago, is that you carried the weight for all of us. Thank you, Classmate.

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